EDITORIAL: Windstream must improve its internet service


Last Thursday, some residential and commercial Windstream DSL customers lost their “high-speed” connection to the internet. The Advocate lost its internet connectivity on Friday.

While the strong thunderstorm on Wednesday afternoon didn’t knock out the Advocate’s connection, if it had, it would have spelled disaster on deadline day. One of the two modems in the office was apparently sizzled by a power surge.

Our office didn’t have internet access Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which are still working days for us. We did have internet connectivity on Monday on the one working modem.

Like most commercial internet providers, Windstream insisted that we sign a two-year contract, which we did. Our contract expires in September.

We spoke with other business owners and others who lost their home internet connection last Thursday. One business, the owner of a restaurant, told us he was unable to process any credit card or debit transactions over the weekend because of the outage. One of the taxing entities we spoke with on Monday was able to get its service back on Monday, but the service was unstable.

The Advocate spoke with Windstream corporate communications specialist Scott Morris on Wednesday. Mr. Morris said that the internet outages in Van Horn were caused by the strong thunderstorm last Wednesday that knocked out service to residential and commercial customers.
He added that on Thursday evening during regular maintenance of the network, that the company encountered an unexpected issue that was not resolved until 5 p.m.on Thursday.

That may be the case for some customers, but other customers did not have internet service until Monday, like the Advocate.

We have previously commented on Windstream’s ineptitude to handle reliable DSL service for its customers.  The company has had years to fix whatever problems with its system it has to provide what is a basic commodity in larger cities.

The company has shown total disdain and inability to service its customers. What’s worse is that the company doesn’t feel the need to issue any kind of an alert or a news release to help us at least make some sense of what’s going on during a lengthy outage.

We must give credit to a customer service representative we spoke with almost a year ago. More than likely, that representative should have never revealed what she told us, but it speaks volumes about the company. She said that the company’s internet infrastructure was seriously flawed and behind schedule, especially for the smaller rural areas, such as Van Horn. She readily admitted that it would be years before the company could catch up to meet the demand.

However, she also said that the company was more interested in appeasing the areas that it serves in the Permian Basin with its ongoing oil boom than the smaller towns further down the line.

What’s the solution?  Unless Windstream grasps the severity of its customer service problem, it will continue to lose internet business to its competitors.

In Van Horn, there are two additional options: Tel-Star Communications, a satellite internet provider, has been offering internet services in town for several years. You can contact local representative Larry Simpson at Office Tech for more information. Also, Delcom Communications has recently added Van Horn as a service area for high-speed internet service. Both advertisements appear in the Advocate.

In no way are we directing this criticism at our local Windstream employees. They are actually victims of a company that has failed to provide the proper infrastructure, and what’s worse, the company appears to be disconnected from the realities of what is actually taking place in its own Windstream localities. The local employees are always friendly, courteous and they attempt to address whatever is thrown at them.

Instead of hammering Windstream, we would prefer to just go about our business, but when our business depends so heavily on reliable, fast internet service, we have to remind the company that it has a corporate responsibility to serve all its customers. Customers also have a say in the matter — they can elect to look for better service elesewhere.


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